Tag Archives: tohoku

JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.

Cherry blossom in Kakunodate Samurai Residence district. It is one of the highlights in Tohoku region. (C) Akita Prefecture / JNTO
Cherry blossom in Kakunodate Samurai Residence district. It is one of the highlights in Tohoku region. (C) Akita Prefecture / JNTO

JR East has decided to divide JR East into two regional passes, JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano, and JR East Pass Tohoku. Current JR East pass will be discontinued in the end of March and these two JR East passes will be on sale. In this post, I would like to explain one of these passes, JR East Pass Tohoku in this post. Continue reading

JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass user guide. Perfect deal for the travelers who visit Tokyo and Sapporo by train.

Night view form Mt.Hakodate ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO
Night view form Mt.Hakodate. Hakodate is one of the popular places in Hokkaido. ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO

This brand new pass will be released in April, 2016. This pass covers Narita airport, Greater Tokyo, Gala Yuzawa, Nikko, whole part of Tohoku region, Hakodate, Otaru, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya and Sapporo. You also may use this pass to get Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone even though this pass covers these trips partially. You cannot use this pass to get central, northern and eastern Hokkaido, such as Furano, Asahikawa, Shiretoko, Kushiro. Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) is better choice if you intend to visit these places.

In this post, I would like to show you the detail of this pass. And I show you some sample rate and compare the pass value and single fares. You may find this suits your plan or not. Continue reading

JR East Pass. Flex 5 days unlimited travel within 14 days in Eastern Japan.

jr-east-pass

*JR East Pass will be divided into two passes on April 1, 2016. Those are JR East Pass (Tohoku area) and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area). Current JR East Pass will be discontinued on March 31, 2016. Please find more information about these two new deals at the links below:
JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.
https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/jr-east-pass-niigata-and-nagano-flex-5-days-pass-in-14-days-period-to-cover-kanto-region-nagano-and-niigata.html

This pass covers eastern part of Honshu island (main island) in Japan, such as Tohoku region, surrounding Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Izu peninsula and most part of Nagano. You can take any trains in the coverage area with a few exception. If you will be a temporary visitor, you are eligible to purchase this deal.

The biggest difference from any other JR Passes is valid periods. You don’t need to use this pass in consecutive days. You can pick any 5 days within 14 days.

Let’s see the details about this pass. I also compare with other passes, such as JR Pass and Kanto Area Pass.

Continue reading

Only 15,000 yen for unlimited ride in Tokyo and Tohoku area!!! JR East Pass Special

Narita Express is covered by both Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Narita Express is covered by both Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass (C) Sonic Rail Garden

I wrote this post in last two years. Right after I published this post in two years ago, the huge earthquake occurred. The east coast of Tohoku area was damaged seriously by earthquake and tsunami. Nobody could not travel when this pass was sold. JR East started to sell same type of pass, JR East Pass Special, again in last year. And this year, same pass come back to motivate to travel east part of Japan, especially Tohoku area! JR East is very aggressive. Because they sold same pass at 13,000 yen in two yeas ago. They sold it at only 10,000 yen for unlimited ride for any 3 days in 10 days. Unfortunately it will be 15,000 yen for 3 days in 10 days. But the price is still very attractive.

So I have just revised this original post and explain about this pass. Before you decide to buy, make sure what the difference between Japan Rail Pass, this JR East Pass and also JR East Kanto Area Pass. Continue reading

Two days unlimited ride on Japan Railways in Tohoku area, Tohoku Ouen Pass

Matsushima is one of three greatest scenery in Japan. ©JNTO
Matsushima is one of three greatest scenery in Japan. ©JNTO

JR East announced that they will sell Tohoku Ouen Pass (東北応援パス). “Ouen (応援)” means Supporting in Japanense. This pass will be sold for supporting Tohoku region where is seriously damaged by the great earthquake in this past March. This pass motivate tourists go to Tohoku region and spend money there to revitalize economy there. Anybody can buy this pass. If you travel outside from Japan, you can buy Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass. But if you live in Japan as a student or work permit, you cannot buy these pass for visitors. This pass may be considerable for you.

Anyway I would like to share the information about this pass with you. Continue reading

Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen operation status

I update information at new Train Operation status page now.

This post gives you most updated informations about Shinkansen lines operation status in Tohoku area.

As of September 23, 2011

The timetable has been back to normal today.

As of August 11, 2011

JR East announced that they will revise the timetable on Sep 1, 2011. It will be almost back to normal. And JR East also announced they start to use the original timetable on Sep 23.

As of June 7, 2011

JR East announced that they will revise the timetable on July 9, 2011. You can find new timetable here. If you want to know how to read it, please refer the chapter of “As of April 29, 2011” below. New timetable is different format from the present timetable. But you can use same way to read.
Now they have the speed restriction between Nasu-Shiobara and Morioka. They will lift this restriction between Nasu-Shiobara and Fukushima, and between Ichinoseki and Morioka on July 9. They will still have the speed restriction between Fukushima and Ichinoseki. But it will be faster than the present schedule.

  • It will be 30 minutes faster to get Shin-Aomori by Hayate than the present time required.
  • 17 trains will be added departure or arrival train at Tokyo station.
  • It will 34 minutes faster to get Shin-Aomori by Hayabusa. And Hayabusa will be operated 2 round trips between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori, and 1 round trip between Tokyo and Sendai.
  • Tsubasa will be operated as the regular timetable. 16 round trips will be operated between Tokyo and Yamagata/Shinjo.
  • It will be 32 minutes faster to get Akita by Komachi than the present time required.

As of April 29, 2011

All section of Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen has just been restored. JR East operate the trains on irregular timetable.
*Now Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen are mostly back to normal. I stop to daily update this post. When JR East release new information, I will let you know.

You can find the timetable here (from Tokyo, see page 2, from Tokyo, see page 6). But this is in Japanese. If you want to know how to read it, please click the following images.

Tentative schedule after April 29 from Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 from Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 to Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 to Tokyo (click to enlarge)

As of April 27, 2011

We have no news today and still wait for all section of Tohoku Shinkansen on 29th of April.


As of April 26, 2011

We have no news today and still wait for all section of Tohoku Shinkansen on 29th of April.


As of April 26, 2011

Trains were suspended yesterday due to blackout. But it will be back to normal today. We have no news today and still wait for all section of Tohoku Shinkansen on 29th of April.


As of April 25, 2011

  • The section between Fukushima and Sendai will be operated today. Now Sendai is accessible directly from Tokyo by Tohoku Shinkansen.
  • JR East will start to operate whole section of Tohoku Shinkansen on Apr 29. They will start to sell reserved seat ticket tomorrow, Apr 26.

Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Sendai, Yamagata Shinkansen between Fukushima and Shinjo

JR East completed to restore between Fukushima and Sendai on Tohoku Shinkansen. They start to operate today. Additional access rapid trains will be operated from Sendai to Ichinoseki until April 29 instead of Shinkansen. Those lines are operated on special schedule. You can download PDF timetable. But this timetable in Japanese. If you want to learn how to read it, please click the following images.

How to read Tohoku Shinkansen timetable (from Tokyo to Sendai, Yamagata, Morioka, Akita, Shin-Aomori)
How to read Tohoku Shinkansen timetable (from Tokyo to Sendai, Yamagata, Morioka, Akita, Shin-Aomori) (click to enlarge)
How to read Tohoku Shinkansen timetable (from Sendai, Yamagata, Morioka, Akita, Shin-Aomori to Tokyo)
How to read Tohoku Shinkansen timetable (from Sendai, Yamagata, Morioka, Akita, Shin-Aomori to Tokyo) (click to enlarge)

Tohoku Shinkansen between Sendai and Ichinoseki

It is scheduled to operate on April 29. JR East released tentative schedule that will be effected after Apr 29. Hayabusa will be operated too. You can find the timetable here. But this is in Japanese. If you want to know how to read it, please click the following images.

Tentative schedule after April 29 from Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 from Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 to Tokyo (click to enlarge)
Tentative schedule after April 29 to Tokyo (click to enlarge)

Tohoku Shinkansen between Ichinoseki and Shin-Aomori

10 round trips between Morioka and Shin-Aomori, 8 round trips between Ichinoseki and Morioka are operated a day. All cars are non-reserved seat except Green seat until Apr 28. After Apr 29, any trains to Morioka or to the north from Morioka will have reserved seat only. (it is same condition as normal)

From Morioka to Shin-Aomori
Hayate 501 Morioka 06:55 – Shin-Aomori 08:01
Hayate 503 Ichinoseki 07:12 – 07:57 Morioka 07:58 – Shin-Aomori 09:05
Hayate 505 Morioka 09:01 – Shin-Aomori 10:07
Hayate 507 Ichinoseki 10:03 – 10:49 Morioka 10: 50 – Shin-Aomori 11:56
Hayate 509 Ichinoseki 12:33 – 13:19 Morioka 13:20 – Shin-Aomori 14:26
Hayate 511 Ichinoseki 14:33 – 15:19 Morioka 15:20 – Shin-Aomori 16:26
Hayate 543 Ichinoseki 16:22 – Morioka 17:07
Hayate 513 Morioka 18:20 – Shin-Aomori 19:26
Hayate 515 Ichinoseki 18:33 – 19:19 Morioka 19:20 – Shin-Aomori 20:26
Hayate 517 Ichinoseki 20:17 – 21:03 Morioka 21:04 – Shin-Aomori 22:10
Hayate 519 Ichinoseki 21:48 – 22:34 Morioka 22:35 – Shin-Aomori 23:41

From Shin-Aomori to Ichinoseki via Morioka
Hayate 500 Shin-Aomori 06:10 – 07:16 Morioka 07:17 – Ichinoseki 08:04
Hayate 502 Shin-Aomori 07:24 – 08:33 Morioka
Hayate 504 Shin-Aomori 08:31 – 09:38 Morioka 09:39 – Ichinoseki 10:25
Hayate 506 Shin-Aomori 09:44 – 10:51 Morioka 10:52 – Ichinoseki 11:38
Hayate 508 Shin-Aomori 12:48 – 13:55 Morioka 13:56 – Ichinoseki 14:42
Hayate 510 Shin-Aomori 15:20 – 16:27 Morioka 16:28 – Ichinoseki 17:14
Hayate 512 Shin-Aomori 17:13 – 18:20 Morioka 18:21 – Ichinoseki 19:07
Hayate 514 Shin-Aomori 18:33 – 19:40 Morioka 19:41 – Ichinoseki 20:27
Hayate 516 Shin-Aomori 20:03 – 21:10 Morioka 21:11 – Ichinoseki 21:57
Hayate 518 Shin-Aomori 21:48 – Morioka 22:55

Akita Shinkansen

5 round trips are operated a day. All cars are non-reserved seat except Green seat until Apr 28. After Apr 29, these trains will have reserved seat only. (it is same condition as normal)

From Akita to Morioka
Komachi 220 08:56 Akita – 10:39 Morioka
Komachi 224 10:56 Akita – 12:37 Morioka
Komachi 228 12:58 Akita – 14:37 Morioka
Komachi 236 16:29 Akita – 18:04 Morioka
Komachi 244 19:30 Akita – 21:00 Morioka

From Morioka to Akita
Komachi 211 07:09 Morioka – 08:40 Akita
Komachi 217 11:01 Morioka – 12:37 Akita
Komachi 225 14:24 Morioka – 15:56 Akita
Komachi 231 17:24 Morioka – 19:02 Akita
Komachi 235 19:24 Morioka – 20:56 Akita
These trains stop at Shizukuishi, Tazawako, Kakunodate and Omagari.

Other Shinkansen lines

Joestu, Nagano, Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen are operated as normal.


As of April 24, 2011

I don’t have anything new today. Train status is same as yesterday. Please refer the chapter of Apr 23, 2011. But I have one thing to tell you about Reserved ticket. On April 29, all section of Tohoku Shinkansen will be restored. After this date, Hayabusa, Hayate and Komachi do not have any non-reserved seat. JR East will start to sell the ticket at 11:00am on Apr 26, 2011.


As of April 23, 2011

  • The section between Ichinoseki and Morioka will be operated today.
  • The section between Sendai and Ichinoseki will be started to operate on Apr 29. It is one day earlier than the original schedule.
  • Tentative schedule after Apr 29 was released. Hayabusa will be operated, one round trip to Sendai and one round trip to Shin-Aomori. Please refer the chapter of “Tohoku Shinkansen between Sendai and Ichinoseki.

Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Fukushima, Yamagata Shinkansen

Those lines are operated as special schedule. You can download PDF timetable. But this timetable in Japanese. Please click the image below. This image shows you how to read it. Continue reading

Train operation status

I update information at new Train Operation status page now.

As of 12:00 pm (Japan time), August 31, 2012

This post tells you about the damage by Great earthquake in March 11, 2011. If you are looking for train operation status on other lines or areas, please try to find in Train Operation Status Category.

All JR lines, subway and private railways in Greater Tokyo area, and most of JR lines in Tohoku area are operate as normal. Some of the lines along Sanriku coastline (east coastline of Tohoku area) are still suspended due to Tsunami damaged. It will take a long time to restore. Please see the details below.

*This post tells you about the regular line in Tohoku and Kanto area. If you are looking for most updated informations about Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen, please refer Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen operation status. But Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen are operated as normal now. (Those line were restored completely on September 23, 2011.)

*If you are looking for the most updated information about the damage by Typhoon on September, please see Operation status on Kii Line or Updated information of train operation status after Typhoon 15.

*Narita Express is operated as normal now.
*If you are looking for most updated informations about Narita Express, please refer Narita Express. Narita Express is operated every 30 minutes in morning and evening peak hours only. You need to take Rapid service in daytime. It takes 90 minutes between Tokyo and Narita.
Continue reading

Direct access to Akita from Tokyo, Akita Shinkansen (bullet train)

Newer E6 series (red color fleet) at Tokyo station (C) James Chuang
Newer E6 series (red color fleet) at Tokyo station (C) James Chuang

Technically Akita Shinkansen means the line between Morioka and Akita. But most of trains are operated between Tokyo and Akita via Morioka as the train name, “Komachi” (こまち).

All Komachi trains are coupled with the fastest Tohoku Shinkansen train, “Hayabusa” between Tokyo and Morioka. Those trains are uncoupled at Morioka. Of course both Akita and Tohoku Shinkansen are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass. Continue reading

Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa (Revised on Feb 2, 10)

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37

Since I have received a response about the extra charge on Green Pass from my reader, I noticed I gave the wrong information. I apologize and revise the informations.

I just received the notice from JR East. I am very happy to confirm that Japan Rail Pass will be able to used for Hayabusa.

Details and conditions

Ordinary Class
Both Japan Rail Pass Ordinary and Green can be used. No extra charge.

Green Class
Japan Rail Pass Green can be used with no extra charge.

Gran Class
Japan Rail Pass cover only the basic fare. If you want to take this class, you have to pay both Limited Express surcharge and Gran Class charge. As of Feb, 2011, the extra charges on Japan Rail Pass are the following:

Tokyo to Sendai : Ltd Exp charge 4,810 yen / Gran Class surcharge 9,000 yen (If you upgrade from Green, surcharge is 4,000 yen Even Green Pass cover only the basic fare.)
Tokyo to Morioka : Ltd Exp charge 5,650 yen / Gran Class surcharge 9,000 yen (If you upgrade from Green, surcharge is 4,000 yen Even Green Pass cover only the basic fare.)
Tokyo to Shin-Aomori : Ltd Exp charge 6.500 yen / Gran Class surcharge 10,000 yen (If you upgrade from Green, surcharge is 5,000 yen Even Green Pass cover only the basic fare.)

If you are looking for the details about Hayabusa, please refer this page. If you are looking for the timetable of Hayabusa, please refer this page.

Visit by Japan Rail Pass! How to access to Lake Towada (Towadako).

Lake Towada (autumn season)
Lake Towada (autumn season)

This lake is one of the most beautiful lake in Japan and most popular destination in Tohoku Area (North part of main island). Especially it has very colorful and amazing view in autumn. JR Tohoku Bus operate the schedule bus to Towadako. This bus service is included in Japan Rail Pass. So you can go there with NO EXTRA charge. Continue reading

Connect Mainland (Aomori) with Hokkaido (Hakodate). Limited Express Hakucho / Super Hakucho

Limited Express Hakucho connect Honshu island with Hokkaido island.
Limited Express Hakucho connect Honshu island with Hokkaido island.

Super Hakucho and Hakucho is no longer running after Hokkaido Shinkansen opened in March, 2016. Now Hokkaido Shinkansen connects Tokyo and Hokkaido. Please see the following link to see the details of this Shinkansen line.

Direct access to Hokkaido from Tokyo, Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train)

Hakucho/Super Hakucho is operated between Shin-Aomori (新青森) and Hakodate (函館). These trains go through the longest tunnel in Japan, “Seikan Tunnel” and connect the main island in Japan, “Honshu” (本州) and Hokkaido (北海道). All these trains are scheduled to be connected with Tohoku Shinkansen at Shin-
Aomori station and Limited Express “Hokuto” and “Super Hokuto” to Sapporo at Hakodate. These trains used to connect Hachinohe with Hakodate via Aomori. But Tohoku Shinkansen was extended to Shin-Aomori on December 4, 2010. Departure location had been changed to Shin-Aomori instead of Hachinohe.

Both Hakucho and Super Hakucho are fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. But the accommodation between Hakucho and Super Hakucho is very different. So I would like to show you the difference and other details. Continue reading

Direct transfer to Yamagata and Shinjo, Yamagata Shinkansen (bullet train)

Yamagata Shinkansen
Yamagata Shinkansen E3 series.

Yamagata Shinkansen is operated between Fukushima and Yamagata and Shinjo. But all train services are provided to/from Tokyo and go through Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Fukushima. It is usually coupled with Tohoku Shikansen “Yamabiko” between Tokyo and Fukushima. At Fukushima station, these trains are uncoupled. Yamagata Shinkansen go toward to Yamagata and Shinjo.

Yamagata Shikansen is sometimes called Mini Shinkansen. Because technically it is not “Real” Shinkansen. It is smaller and slower than common Shinkansen because of sharing the truck with the local trains between Fukushima and Shinjo via Yamagata.

In this post, I would like to show many photos of Yamagata Shinkansen train and explain about this train. Continue reading